I don’t know a single person that doesn’t love Thanksgiving (it’s in a week, you must have heard). And while I love Thanksgiving with all of my heart and soul, I have come here to admit that I have never had stuffing before! I know! Insanity. For some reason, Thanksgiving at our household has always been a strange conglomerate of Indian dishes, Thanksgiving-y vegetarian side dishes, and whatever other recipes that I wanted to try because I had many guinea pigs around. There was never a year when stuffing made the cut.
I have to say that I’m not completely surprised though. There are some pretty stellar Thanksgiving vegetarian side dishes that sound much more appealing than stuffing. Hello – caramelized brussels sprouts salad? Goat cheese mashed potatoes? Brown sugar glazed yams?! You can’t blame me here. Especially because if you think about it, stuffing is essentially dried out bread that you make soggy with eggs and broth and then put right back in the oven to try to crisp up again. Why? Why would anyone go through all of this just to get back to the same point you were at before?
But here I am, willing to try this age old tradition, asking my family to be guinea pigs once again. So, in this two part post about stuffing, I will first make the cornbread for my cornbread stuffing. I decided on cornbread stuffing, because, as you all know, I love all things corn. But more than that, the sweet/salty combo intrigued me. So instead of making standard cornbread, I knew that I wanted to use sweeter corn muffins, especially because this meant that I got more crispy edges in my actual stuffing. Did I mention that I don’t like the idea of soggy bread?
Also, muffins get stale pretty quickly, and apparently, to ensure the best possible stuffing, you need the stalest bread. See why this has always been such a confusing dish to me? Come back this weekend when I post about putting this whole dish together! I’m excited to be proven wrong about my thoughts on stuffing. Hopefully.
Corn Muffins (from Baking from My Home to Yours)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons corn oil
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup corn kernels (I used canned – I rinsed the kernels and then blotted them off on a paper towel)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush a standard 12 mold muffin tin with butter (you could also spray the muffin tin, but the butter will ensure really crispy edges).
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, if you’re using it. In a another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, oil, egg and yolk together until well blended. Mix in the corn kernels. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold. After the muffins have cooled completely, cut each one into quarters and spread out onto a baking sheet. Don’t snack on them! Place in a switched-off oven for two days to dry out before making stuffing.